Sunday, June 22, 2008

Walking by Faith Not by Sight

I thought of sharing this inspirational words sent by my former boss.

Walking by Faith Not by Sight

By Robert A. Schuller

"For we walk by faith, not by sight." – 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NASB)

When motivational speaker Bill Irwin talks to audiences, he often tells stories from his 1990 hike of the famous Appalachian Trail (AT): "On November 21, 1990, I stopped a hundred yards short of [completing] the Appalachian Trail. And for the first time in eight and a half months, I chuckled when I thought, 'If I don't do something really stupid, I'm going to make it!'"

The idea that Bill might stumble in the last hundred yards of a 2,175-mile hike only becomes "funny" when you realize that Bill is blind. That's right – completely, legally blind. He is a man who navigated deep ravines, climbed over rocky crags, crossed swollen mountain streams, and sometimes endured days on end of rain and wind chills of seventy degrees below zero from Georgia to Maine – all without the benefit of sight.

The reason Bill decided to make this hike was to show the world that with God all things are possible. He went blind at age 28 from an eye disease and at age 49 decided it was time to do something totally impossible for a blind person to do. He was not an experienced hiker, but chose hiking the Appalachian Trail as a way to say it is possible to walk by faith and not by sight.

His German shepherd seeing-eye dog, Orient, was his companion from start to finish. His son and an AT volunteer prepared audio tapes describing mile markers on the trail and their relationship to towns, post offices, hostels, AT shelters, restaurants, and other facilities. His church in Burlington, North Carolina, prepared supply packages they mailed ahead of time to post offices along the way.

For almost all of his 259 days on the trail, Bill Irwin and Orient hiked alone. He learned to read trail markers with his fingers, feeling the letters routed into the wooden signs. Orient learned to find the small white markers that keep hikers on the trail, much as seeing-eye dogs learn to read traffic lights and protect their masters in the middle of a big city. And Bill learned to trust Orient's leading, and his own intuition, about the right way to go.

Bill fell a lot. He broke a rib, wore out seven pairs of hiking boots, six ski poles, and three pack frames before finishing - but he DID finish. And the fact that he completed the entire trail without sight is one of the most remarkable achievements in human history.

This amazing man continues to walk by faith. Since 1990, he has hiked more than 5,000 miles on trails all over the world and is a much sought after consultant, trainer and counselor. He has appeared on the Hour of Power and my father wrote the introduction to his 1992 book Blind Courage which details his odyssey on the Appalachian Trail. He has proven there is something more important than sight for success in this life – FAITH.

What you cannot see with your physical eyes, God will reveal to you with your spiritual heart.

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God, when You called me to follow You, what You were really asking is that I trust Your lead and listen for Your voice. I want to trust You and follow You in faith today and every day of my life.

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